THE PROBLEM OF IMMIGRATION IS A STATE AFFAIR
INTERVIEW WITH FATHER DE NANTES
WE have kept in our records an interview on the problem of immigration, which we requested of Father de Nantes in November 1985. We think it right to publish now what he said thirty years ago. The doctrine does not change with the winds of the hour. We wish to thank our Father for having preserved the Phalange from the snares that had been set for the French Right at that time. Tomorrow we shall congratulate ourselves still more for this wisdom and supernatural sense which, in politics as in religion, dictate our movement’s line of conduct.
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – Father, the streets of Paris are decked with little yellow CCR stickers saying : “ Stop all forms of racism ! Beware of the bloodbath that any form of racism provokes, igniting a counter racism ! Let us restore Christian France, with a human, fraternal face ! ” Or again : “ The important thing is not race but religion. The salvation of France is the Catholic religion. ” Or again : “ Stop racism ! Stop civil war ! The Phalangist Communion chooses order and peace. ” Or again : “ The problem of immigration is an affair of State and not of homicidal passion. But France has no state. She only has parties, a majority against a minority. France must either perish or restore the monarchical State. ”
In this year 1985, therefore, we see that you are disturbed by the rise of a certain racism. Do you subscribe to the position of the bishops of France who have recently declared : “ France has always been a land of welcome ; it is part of her vocation. Nowadays, men and women come not only from the bordering countries, but also from other continents. It is an opportunity for our country. ” ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – I am surprised that the bishops should begin by speaking of other continents rather than of other religions. For that is where the real difficulty is to be found. It is not a question of geographical distance but rather of spiritual distance. It is a matter of knowing the religion and also the civilisation of these immigrants, then we can consider the question of their nationality. I will give you an example to show the necessary distinction : to come from Turkey is to come from afar, but to come from Algeria, which was French for a hundred and thirty years, is to come a short distance. Religion, civilisation, French influence or not – these are the first factors to consider, but apparently they are of no interest to our bishops. Secondly, you are right in saying that for me this whole question is a state affair. I am against people who make opposition to immigration an electoral platform. That is no way to settle this difficult problem : it dramatises and over-simplifies it, thus making any kind of solution impossible. I warn of the danger. From this, it has been deduced that I am in favour of immigration. For the moment I am neither favourable nor unfavourable, or more exactly I think I am both one and the other. It depends on different points of view.
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – What points of view ? You know what is being said : “ With the development of today’s means of communication and international exchanges, the traditional national framework has become too narrow, and society is moving towards multinational and multiracial communities. ” Do you accept this mixture of nations and races ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – To say that the nation has become too narrow a framework is absurd at a time when every conflict of interest is more and more national, not to say nationalist. The least little Pacific or Caribbean island claims its sovereignty, is a member of UN and jealously protects its interests ! And these same Utopians tell you that the nation is a thing of the past ! Finding no complaint with that, they push matters even further.
With Maurras, I say that the nation is more than ever the perfect circle for social harmony and the sound administration of society. When capable, the nation’s own authority has the means to grasp society’s problems with clarity and to resolve them. Beyond the nation, everything becomes confused, difficult, risky and extraordinarily dangerous ; in fact, it comes within the sphere of international relations. In answer to your question : the French nation exists ; it has its history, its civilisation, its ecological equilibrium, its frontiers, in short, its identity. Its frontiers are not extensible. Migratory waves are not new. France has suffered or welcomed many such ! If they present a danger to the existence of France, then France must be protected from them. If, on the contrary, it is France that assimilates and conquers them, and if this contribution or this conquest develop the prestige and prosperity of the French nation in its tradition, spirit, religion and sovereignty, and if all the members of this complex and united community enjoy a greater advantage as a result, each one sharing in the common patrimony and collaborating in the common work, why should one be against it ? Our forefathers were wise. Louis XIV had decreed for the New France (Canada) that every native who converted to the Catholic religion was to be regarded as French, a subject of the King of France and treated as such. It was Christian and human. Father de Foucauld thought exactly the same when he begged the French to evangelise their colony. For him, as he himself said, to evangelise them was to make them French.
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – Father, you are thinking of the Church and of France. Should we not also consider the economic plight of these people ? Millions of people are dying of hunger in the poor countries of Asia and Africa. Their traditional ecological systems have been overturned, not to say destroyed, by the industrial countries. Do you not think that we have a duty in justice and solidarity to welcome these people amongst us ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – I find the answer in Maurras and in Father de Foucauld : empirical realism on the one hand and mystical realism on the other, the two going together. We can neither be just nor charitable towards five hundred million East Indians if our country begins to decline, if its very existence and identity is threatened. The first rule, therefore, not mystical but political, is that we should preserve our own identity, strength, national equilibrium and prosperity. To the extent that our own country enjoys the power of a rich, vigorous, productive economy, then we cannot be indifferent towards those immense countries, principally those for whose colonisation we were responsible, as Father de Foucauld said. If we discharged that responsibility badly then our duties towards them are all the more imperative. It is a duty, moreover, of a mutual interest, and can even be of vital necessity for economic, political and defence reasons. That is plain. Our duty, therefore, does not consist in allowing ourselves to be invaded by any one anyhow, especially not by crowds of down-and-outs who will ruin our economy by over-burdening social expenditure with nothing in return. It consists in transporting and transposing our aid to them, not in the form of quantities of food that will only result in ruining the economic balance of those countries, but by going there ourselves as administrators and educators – that was the term used by Father de Foucauld himself – in other words, like it or not, as colonisers.
Since we hear so much about the under privileged countries compared with the rich countries, the South compared to the North, the countries of the Third and of the Fourth World, and since the common language of the international organisms, of the Church and of the Catholic authorities, alas, makes an entire dialectic out of this, why should not our countries of ancient civilisation and advanced technology make agreements with these impoverished countries, agreements that include religion, political administration, defence and military aid favourable to both parties. That is where the future lies and not in this idea authoritatively advanced by John XXIII – an idea that has always seemed absolutely stupid to me – whereby the rich and powerful countries should make a purely gratuitous contribution to the countries of the Third World with nothing in return, not even any verification. Such an idea is absolutely contrary to all education, justice and therefore to all prosperity, ecological and economic soundness. It is plain for all to see now that decolonisation has resulted in a massive failure : misery for the poor abandoned peoples but satisfaction for the rapacious. A country like Cambodia, for example, was never happier or better protected than when it was under French tutelage. And what is to be said of Africa that has been visited by every conceivable ill : massacres, looting, tribal rivalries, ecological and economic ruin, capitalist exploitation, diseases like Aids, etc. Where does all the humanitarian aid go ? Down one big bottomless hole, as everyone knows, when it is not commandeered by brigands. Such has been the fine mess these last thirty years. Where then is realism and mysticism ? I believe they are with us, in our Catholic and French solutions.
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – Father, do you think there could be a danger of racism in France ? Is it compatible with the French spirit ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – The answer is clear. First of all, on the political level : there will always be a danger of racism as long as we are in a republic, in a democratic society, because the political parties live only by exasperating human passions, of which racism or xenophobia is one of the strongest. This is especially so in a permissive republic where every kind of immigration is tolerated, even encouraged. The Socialist party, for example, as does the present-day Church, goes out of its way to defend the foreigner for no other reason than that he is a foreigner, with the result that others will take advantage of this situation to create an opposite party, which could very well be subsidised and supported by the Left. It is like a game of tennis : return the ball and then we shall have white racists, which in turn will excite black racism, which itself, etc. etc. Since we are in a democracy it will be wonderful for elections and will produce resounding scores (remember this was said in 1985 !) You understand that in such a game they are all accomplices. Yet remove democracy from a country like ours and, as is proved by history, France is one of those civilised countries that have most successfully approached and met other cultures, civilisations, religions and races, often with great happiness, equity and fruitfulness. One only has to think of the Crusades and of the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem which lasted for two centuries ! There is also French colonisation which avoided the two extremes of segregation, as practised by the English and Dutch, and miscegenation as practised by the Spanish and Portuguese. France showed great wisdom in holding the balance.
Secondly, on the religious level : France will never be racist as long as she is Catholic. She will be racist in so far as she becomes Protestant, a truth that is spoken nowhere (Protestant, or among us, Jansenist, Integrist, racist, elitist – in a word Pharisaic). The Catholic is not racist. He is the brother of all, and from the moment the East Indian, American Indian, Chinese or Patagonian is baptised, he is my brother.
The Protestant is fundamentally an individualist. This individualism means that where Protestant countries have conquered colonial territories to their Protestantism, they have introduced a racial barrier wherever they have gone. The English in India, for example, confined themselves to their way of life and exploited the country. The English see their colonies as markets. The Portuguese in India, on the other hand, mixed with the population indiscriminately because they were Catholic. The French in Indochina practised their usual form of colonisation, comprising a certain amount of miscegenation, but more especially creating perfectly genuine, useful and well-accepted human relationships, constituting a new type of society that was radically Catholic and French, but in no way racist.
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – To come back to the everyday problems of the French people, you know that there are many who are increasingly susceptible to the security argument. They think that an overwhelming majority of delinquents are immigrants. Recent statistics, moreover, seem to confirm this. What do you think of the security argument ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – I shall answer in a very simple and complete manner, and as always with Maurras and with Jesus Christ, if I dare say so, by closely following Father de Foucauld, who is our modern religious inspiration.
Firstly, it needs to be understood that the problem of security, like the problem of immigration, makes a formidable electoral platform. Socialism has allowed insecurity to worsen, it is true. But no more than liberalism did before. So now the French are told that they are going to get their throats slashed in the street. Far from showing them the causes of this and proposing calm, prudent solutions, the politicians excite their fear. It works very well : the people are gathered into parties with a view to an electoral conflict. As the anxiety is in fact very understandable and legitimate, they insist on it : “ Just look at what is happening in the subway, at the market ! You can’t go there without being attacked ! Look at these old ladies ! ” This feeling of insecurity is propagated for the sake of it, then simplified thus aggravating it still more : all these criminals are immigrants ; these robbers and rapists are all Arabs. In this way hatred is compounded : firstly because these people are burglars and rapists and secondly because they are over here when they should be elsewhere. So a very simple and liberating solution is proposed : vote for me and there will be no more Arabs. You grasp the mechanism ? The trouble with that procedure is civil war in the short term and, incalculable risks. And so you ask me, and you, Father de Nantes, what do you propose ? Don’t you believe that there has been a terrifying increase in the crime rate ?
My answer is this : the problem of security, like the problem of immigration, and all very grave problems affecting the everyday temporal life and survival of citizens, is a matter for the State. No matter how many millions of immigrants we have in France, if we had a dictatorial or royal State, that is to say a powerful State capable of guaranteeing justice and policing, the government would see that order reigned. Furthermore, if this State were Catholic, it would be concerned to give a decent status and natural living surroundings to all these people brought over here for cheap labour.
Such a State would be just, strong, corporative and social. It would master the problem of immigration, clamping down on unchecked illegal immigration, and keeping a close watch on the rest by way of reception facilities, and in the interests of all. Immigration would then be controlled by the State and the Catholic Church and not by the Communist Party and the CGT (Communist trade union). Those people would then rediscover in France a known framework for living, such as they had had in their own countries with patriarchal organisation. I have many friends, from among the Pieds-Noirs population 1 who were expelled from Algeria, and they sent me a report following a serious study they made on the criminality of North Africans in France : Arabs and Berbers without distinction. I did not really need to see the report to guess the conclusion. These same groups of people, in French Algeria, had a very low crime rate and, what is more, their policing was insignificant compared to that of the metropolis. Now these same people, completely uprooted and transplanted into France, regimented without their consent by professional agitators, find themselves mentally and morally changed and as a result their crime rate is vastly superior to that of those other good Frenchmen who are already rooted here with house and country and who have no need to commit burglary in order to live. So you understand that these crude statistics : the number of sick in hospital, criminals in prison, burglars etc. 30 %, 50 % North Africans may be correct but are purely material. They fail to take into account the sociological totality of the problem, and I would add that to publish them as they are is to provide statistics for civil war.
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – In the present state of things, that is to say in the democratic regime under which we live, what solutions would you envisage to cope with this immigration ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – In a democratic regime there is no solution. If there were a solution only the Catholic Church would have the organised, hierarchical force to provide it and implement it through all its life-transforming powers and faculties. Only the Catholic Church could send priests and religious to fulfil this mission, not worker-priests to preach revolution, but workers of the true and eternal Gospel. The Church would do what she has always done in history’s catastrophic times, from the barbarian invasions and throughout the troubled times of famine, plague and disaster. She would send her priests, monks and nuns, who have given their all in making the sacrifice of their lives, to look after these unfortunates who arrived here without welcome, without a roof, living at Nanterre, in the slum belt. The religious would care for them, educate and convert them. In converting and moralising them, the Church would fulfil her civilising mission, where an incapable and muddle-headed State would fail. But since we are in a democracy of accelerating decline, the Church herself has become democratic and simply adds the weight of her ideological injustice to the political injustice of the Government. There is nothing to be done ! And it is not through voting for thirty or even a hundred National Front deputies to Parliament that the Church’s decadence and the State’s disorder will be reversed. (These words were spoken in 1985 !)
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – Father, you are royalist, loyal to Marshal Pétain, and traditionalist. In the eyes of the public, your past and your whole way of thinking are indicative of the old Catholic intolerance : persecution of the Jews and revocation of the Edict of Nantes. How do you think it is possible to integrate welcoming immigrants into your political tradition ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – You are playing the devil’s advocate. All that you have just said is the effect of Republican brain-washing. In order to get away with its own fierce intolerance, its hatred and general incapacity, the Republic avenges itself by insulting Marshal Pétain, the royalty and in general everything that is French and Catholic. History, however, tells us of bishops who were the fathers of their country, defenders of the city at the time of the barbarian invasions, of countless saints like Saint Vincent de Paul who were entirely devoted to the spiritual and temporal welfare of the people, of missionaries. The Church was always the friend of the poor in times past. Her doctrinal intolerance, her concern to spread the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, was the starting point for the Church’s missionary expansion and for her great civilising and charitable work. For love of God, she more than anyone else stooped to care for the poor and for the stranger. That was true at all times. This same fervour was regained under Marshal Pétain with the Secours National which became the Secours Catholique. So, we have no lessons to learn from the Republic. As for the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, I shall be giving a lecture 2 on that before long. If we regain power, we shall denounce the crimes of the other side and, believe me, they will not be lies. Now, if I have understood you correctly, your question was : “ You who are intolerant, what solution do you envisage for the immigration problem ? ”
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – I’ll put my question in a more political way : you have a total political project that is Catholic, royal and communitarian. Your approach to the French nation is very mystical. Two years ago you gave a magisterial series of lectures on the mystical body of the Kingdom. My question is : how can foreign populations share in the life of this mystical body ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – The first thing necessary is for France to recover that mystical life, which is her deepest life, failing which she will waste away. This mystical life is her religious soul as well as her political order. In the Middle Ages, at the height of the 13th century, when there was a sound and vigorous political order, there were very important foreign minorities in France. They felt very much at ease. They had their immunities. They lived as nations in the universities : the Italian nation, the Germanic nation, etc. Their life was as free as that of today’s Chinese, Italian or Jewish minorities in New York. Only France is not the United States.
In so far as we have a strong and elaborated religious and political system, then we can envisage solutions that a democrat would be absolutely unable to expect ? They will be solutions of such extreme simplicity and will prove to be of equally extreme efficacy from one day to the next. We can propose these solutions tomorrow if you wish, just as we saw the National Revolution 3 produce absolutely remarkable laws in the very first months, which, had it not been for the German presence, would have restored France in a matter of years. Supposing I am questioned on television about the problem of immigration, well I have my solution and I assure you that it is so perfectly realistic and effective that with a strong dictatorial or royal power – that of course, is a sine qua non condition – everyone would support it once the demagogues and politicians had been set aside.
It would, in effect, be sufficient to perfect a legislative system whereby – I take an example – all those belonging to the Turkish nation would be bound to declare themselves and to partake in what will be called Turkish nation. All these Turks, of Turkish nationality resident in France, would be notified to vote in order for their representatives to be designated. On the appointed day all the Turks will report to the Town Hall and so provide themselves with an authority. It will serve as both a census and an organisation of the Turkish nation, which will have its representatives, its leaders, who will themselves choose their delegates or officers for religious, economic, legal and social affairs. These authorities will of course be received by our Head of State, dictator or king. The result of this system will be constant relationships defining the framework of a true contract and establishing reciprocal trust with respect for French sovereignty and their particularism. In substance, they will be told : “ You are responsible for what goes on among your people. You yourselves administer your community in accordance with your law, Ataturk’s Secular law or Muslim law, as you choose. Naturally, we reserve the right of control and you must know that you will be held responsible for any breach of the established contract or infraction of our sovereignty, social order and crimes committed against French citizens in particular. You take it or leave it. ” In this way, we would no longer find ourselves confronted by a mass of individuals without faith or law, but faced with a community, a body of personally commanded human beings whose obligations, personal and collective rights would be determined, sanctioned and put into effect by their own responsible leaders.
I have taken the Turks as an example, but the same would have to be done for the Moroccans, Tunisians, Madagascans, etc. With a clear knowledge of the terms of its obligations, each foreign community, every organised nation wanting a quiet and prosperous life amongst us, would effectively constrain its leaders to ensure that its members respected order, and, believe me, their ministers and representatives would make sure that order reigned with a terrible efficacy and would themselves ruthlessly punish any criminals from among them. The crime rate would slump quite spectacularly. If, on the other hand, members of these foreign collectivities are maltreated, scandalously exploited, as happened under President Giscard, by means of a capitalist system without redress, if they have crossed the frontier illegally through the intermediary of racketeers who will have robbed them of all their money, if they find themselves in our cities without work, without permit, without social security, in other words all the cases we know, they will have an authority to appeal to, and it will not be the consulate or the embassy of their country, which can only interfere in sovereign authority in case of necessity, but it will be the established authority of their nation in France. It is for them to expound to the French government their difficulties, problems, requests, even demands in accordance with the contracts concluded and their recognised rights over such matters as working conditions, social security, housing etc.
That is a legal, political system which is clear and I would say ecological. It is quite simply decentralisation ; from the moment such a system is set up, it works of its own accord. As we know, it is from Maurras, but, as Maurras warned us, democracy is centralisation. Never will our democracy, as it is constituted, be able to accept such a clear system. If it were to accept such a system, all these Turks, Maghrebis, etc. would escape its mechanism and would cease to be an easy prey for the CGT (Communist trade union), the various parties and organisations in enemy pay preparing for civil war.
PHALANGIST COMMUNION : – How can your political system withstand Islam’s expansionism now being transported into France by Khomeini’s delegates ?
FATHER DE NANTES : – Islam’s expansionism today is nothing other than a war of subversion. Islam and Communism have the same procedures and doubtless the same high strategy, since Islam is manipulated by the KGB at leisure. Such procedures are known as war of subversion, and subversion has a chance of success only in democratic countries. Rats only have a future in a house where disorder reigns, but once the house is swept clean and people move about freely, the rats do not stay long.
Islam presented no danger in our colonies as long as we were a political force. Father de Foucauld foresaw that it would become a danger and he warned the French of the consequences of our unwillingness to convert our Muslim subjects, for in a democracy the words “ liberty ” and “ equality ” are explosive. This danger, however, is not fatal and that is why I am against white racism, which is a hideous thing ; for in a strong France proud of its religion publicly professed and supported by solid institutions, there would be no difficulty with immigrants. Immigrants are quiet people. It is because we love disorder and incite it and because we allow free rein to foreign agents and professional agitators that the immigrants in the end are seen to be demonstrating on our streets. Those who allow such disorder must really want to disturb French peace. I say this today before those crazy people who are adding fuel to the fire : if these immigrants were what they are said to be, there would not be ten or a hundred crimes a day ; there would be a hundred thousand and we would not be able to live !
Twenty-five years ago, we were led to believe that there was a gulf between the two communities in Algeria, but it was a gulf desired by progressivists and professional traitors. They worked to create artificially the irreversible event that would establish the break that they needed to justify their foul endeavour. In reality, however, this gulf never existed, and the fellagha rebellion was no more than an extraordinarily minority phenomenon, quickly re-absorbed as soon as France came to herself, as was seen in 1958 (How even more true of New Caledonia is this analysis. There we are dealing with Catholic Kanaks ! ‘To create a problem in New Caledonia, to lose this island, one must truly want it’our Father said recently).
Shiite criminality and subversion in France today are in fact very limited phenomena : a good police force and a sound legal system would settle the question in five seconds. Ask any conscientious police officer or honest magistrate and he would tell you the same. It is the criminals, however, whom we take to be representative members, promoting them to the role of spokesmen, creating for them and financing official associations of subversion and opening mosques for them to be their centres of ideological subversion. Whilst the radio and television speak only of these criminals and agitators, never a mention is made of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who pass their lives quietly and ask only one thing : that they be left in peace, so happy are they to be in France and ready to be converted tomorrow if we wished.
So, all that remains is for the French to fall into the trap, which is what certain interested persons hoped for. They hold the immigrant, any immigrant, in horror and they become racist. Then in order to do something, or have the illusion of doing something, they throw themselves into a political party where they are offered solutions. They are satisfied with the simplistic character of the solution proposed by the party : “ Give us power, and we’ll arrange all that ! ” Bravo ! Democracy has succeeded in its work of division, systematically highlighting the worst, stirring up contradictions, and always and everywhere seeing that the bad prevails over the good. At the end of the day, one is left with the impression that the problem is insurmountable, and public opinion is overwhelmed. Foreign agents, the KGB, traitors take advantage of this situation to have their solution imposed whilst the last stronghold of Frenchmen, believing themselves to be good, faithful, stalwart patriots, take to the club or the rifle. Anti-immigrants against pro-immigrants – that is how the political, religious and intellectual life of our country is radicalised. It creates a bipolarisation that will open the way to all manner of murderous provocation in the streets.
I make no secret of the fact that I fear for the future. The mechanism has already been started. The schema will be put into application to the very end. Tomorrow in New Caledonia ; the day after tomorrow in France. It is literally diabolical. For my part, I do not wish to have contributed to it in any way whatsoever, and I want my friends of our Phalange to resist the racist temptation that serves, I say again, as an electoral platform for the restless, the blind or the unscrupulously ambitious. For the honour of the Church and of France, they will keep to the path of wisdom which, thank God, has always been ours, that of our forebears, the missionaries and soldiers of greater France.
At my last big Paris meeting when I spoke on the theme “ Long live the Army ! ” I suggested among other things the integration into the French army of thousands of immigrants without work and without means, and in this setting have them co-operate in France’s grandeur and security and even contribute to works of general utility. The suggestion raised a smile, and I am sorry that it did. It would be no more than a fresh application of what made for France’s genius in the past. Otherwise, it would amount to saying that our officers and NCO’s are incapable compared to their elders. This is something I contest absolutely. In any case, this proposition, one among others, was in keeping with France, public peace and the common good.
It is along these lines that all good people should work. Apparently, however, it is no longer taken into consideration and it fails to please because it hinders the campaign plans of certain people who thrive only on exasperating human passion, disturbing public order and creating disorder in France. Well, we shall not be of those people whether of this side or that, under any pretext whatsoever. Among the coming follies, we shall remain worthy of our Catholic and French tradition and we shall prove ourselves to be, at least by example, the disciples of our venerable Father Charles de Foucauld.
We have nothing to add to this interview of 1985. It is for our readers to reflect upon. One only had to listen to Father de Nantes’monthly conferences on current affairs over the past ten years to know that French political life would be stuck in an impasse. In politics as in religion, Father de Nantes will have warned his brothers and compatriots, and he will have indicated possible solutions and paths of wisdom. Very little notice has been taken of this, needless to say. In the end, for the day when it is wanted, it is all there written or recorded ; it only needs to be read or heard.
(1) Pieds-Noirs : Algerian born people of European descent.
(3) National Revolution : the political programmes of French restoration undertaken by Marshal Pétain during the German occupation of World War II.